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Why Tai Chi Works So Well to Move and Soothe Us

By Sandy Schroeder

Tai chi seems to have captured everyone’s imagination with its gentle swaying motion and blend of healthy benefits. If you see a cluster of people standing in the park moving in unison with waving motions, it’s probably a tai chi class doing a “moving meditation.” I have watched all different types of people become hooked on tai chi.

This ancient Chinese practice is now considered one of the most well-balanced exercises for people of all ages to train the mind and body, protect health and improve strength, balance and mobility.

Locally, there are classes throughout Orange County. Recently there were classes in Central Park in Huntington Beach, and ones on the University of California Irvine campus with world-renowned expert on tai chi, UCI professor Dr. Shin Lin, who serves as a world leader in the study of modern biomedical technologies of tai chi/Qigong on mind-body functions and body energy. To read more about his theory check his UCI site.

What This Could Do for You

The Harvard Health Publications recently called tai chi "Medicine in Motion" as it listed its many benefits proven in laboratory research and clinical trials.

  • Sharpen mental focus
  • Increase immune strength
  • Lower stress
  • Improve balance and flexibility
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Elevate mood
  • Improve blood flow
  • Fight diabetes, insomnia, obesity, hypertension and arthritis

I began a tai chi class after discovering yoga. This seemed like a logical extension of mind/body fitness. The classes are very relaxing and I always leave smiling. Here’s an example of a tai chi movement to release stress and tension in the neck and shoulders from Dr. Luke Jih.

Arm Raise and Twist

  • Inhale and slowly raise arms above the head with palms up next to the face, and then all the way up as far as you can.
  • Then turn the waist to the left to help the right arm reach higher. Then turn to the right to raise the left arm higher.
  • Reverse directions and repeat five times. Then totally relax the arms, letting them drop to your sides. This should help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.

If you are still looking for a comfortable fitness routine to relax and strengthen the body, tai chi may have some answers for you. Check for classes near you to observe one, or watch a class online.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Huntington Beach, Calif.

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